Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing cardiology, expert says

The interaction with artificial intelligence, robotics and other forms of new technologies is bringing forth a revolution in the field of cardiology, Rambam Health Care Campus’ Prof. Rafael Beyar said.
Cardiology has been going through dramatic changes in the past few years,” Beyar said. “There are several fields where we are witnessing those changes. At number one I would put when we can refer to digital health, and especially the development of better and quicker tools for diagnosis based on artificial intelligence, diagnosis of heart attacks, strokes, pains and so on.”

“Nowadays, there are many ways to monitor patients, from smartwatches to patches to special cameras that can be installed in one’s home, all of them which collect information that can send to the hospitals,” he noted.

Beyar, a former director of the hospital, is one of the organizers of the conference Innovation in cardiovascular Interventions which will take place in Tel Aviv on December 5-7.

The conference will bring together hundreds of medical professionals, entrepreneurs in the medical field and researchers.

3D image of a heart in a cardiology test (credit: REUTERS)3D image of a heart in a cardiology test (credit: REUTERS)

Another area that has experienced dramatic progress recently is the one of valves.

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The heart has four valves that keep the blood flowing from one direction to the other.

“Until recently, all problems connected to valves had to be solved with surgery, open-chest procedures which would also involve several weeks of recovery,” Beyar noted. “Now some alternative therapies exist but not for all problems and there are several companies in Israel and abroad which are working on developing more solutions.”

Robotics is also an important area of innovation in cardiology, the expert pointed out.

“There have been important developments in employing robotics to perform procedures guided by a surgeon” Beyar remarked. “This is important also to allow someone to perform a surgery remotely if we imagine a situation where a patient is somewhere where no doctor is available.”

Israel, a country known for its culture that favors innovation, is a very fertile ground to bring change forth.

“Israel is unique because it has many technological solutions developed in the country and they often can be tested in Israel, also because the regulatory process is relatively efficient,” Beyar said.

Asked about whether it is sometimes hard to bring change in the medical field, which tend to be cautious before new methods, the professor remarked that it is always important to ensure the safety of what is been done.

“However, cardiology is a discipline where things happen very fast,” he said.

“I am an interventional cardiologist and I was there when stents started to be used,” he recalled, referring to the small devices used to treat narrowed arteries. “I can tell you that within five years, stents went from been used in 10% of the relevant procedures to over 90%.”

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For the future, according to Beyar, the question is how digital health tools are going to change the way patients are monitored remotely.

“The coronavirus pandemic has already changed things very fast in this perspective, but we will have to wait and see of the trend continues and how it develops,” he concluded.


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